How to Listen More (and Better), Loving People via Email, & Religious Liberty in the Absence of Power

Wisdom for Your Weekend is your regular installment of what we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web. Presented to you by Chris Pappalardo, with guidance from Pastor J.D., this is our attempt to reflect Proverbs 9:9: “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.”  

While we do not always agree with everything these authors post, we share these resources because we find them challenging and enriching. As we often say around the Summit, “Eat the fish and spit out the bones.”

Articles of the Week

Talk Less. Listen More. Here’s How, Kate Murphy. If you were asked to describe what a perfect listener would be like, chances are you wouldn’t describe an operative from the CIA or a bartender. But according to Kate Murphy, you probably should. She’s just published a book about listening (You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters), and she would like you to know that good listening isn’t optional. We suggest … well, that you listen to her.

Liberty Gained and Power Lost, David French. “In the coming years, Christians will have to look in the mirror and ask themselves two basic questions. Are we brave enough to faithfully and confidently exercise the liberties that others have won? Or are we too weak and afraid to practice Christianity in the absence of the power we’ve so plainly lost?”

Should Missionaries Focus on Unreached People Groups? Yes. Matthew Newkirk. By most estimates, there are still more than 6,000 unreached people groups (UPGs) in the world. The term “UPG” isn’t in Scripture, but the idea certainly is. When Jesus commissioned his disciples to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, he was sending them to every last people group. Two thousand years later, is this emphasis on UPGs still relevant? Absolutely.

Three Things to Remember When Giving Comfort to Grieving People, Randy Alcorn. This was written in the context of the holidays—which are a painful time for many. But grief doesn’t keep itself within the neat boundaries of a calendar, so Alcorn’s advice here is evergreen. If you want to love people well, learn how to mourn with them. If nothing else, just show up.

Love Your Neighbor in the New Year: Answer Their Emails and Texts, Jen Pollock Michel. As one of our pastors often quips, “Emails are people, too.” Rarely would any of us be as neglectful and disrespectful to people in front of us as we are to people who email us. Michel points to Jesus as a helpful example of someone who could tell the difference between a mindless interruption and a meaningful one. If we want to love people well, we had better make ourselves available to the latter.

On the Lighter Side

When the Alarm Clock Was a Person, Josh Jones. File this away as proof that the history of innovation is chock full of delightful oddities. In the industrializing Britain of the 20th century, it was often more expensive to purchase an alarm clock than to hire a human being to wake you up. Hence the rise of the “knocker-upper,” the professional (human) alarm clock.